The first eight years of a child’s life are among the most important for brain development. Experiences and skills built in these early years play a critical role in a child’s personality, temperament, and even interests. The brain develops more in the first few years of life than at any other time.

And, while there is a lot of emphasis placed on education in these years,
there is a common misconception that childhood is the only time when learning is important. The truth is, lifelong education can be the key to a fulfilling and healthy life. Whether you want to keep your brain sharp to continue with activities you enjoy or simply want to pick up a new skill, the guide below explains why continuing education is so crucial for your well-being.

The benefits of lifelong learning 

When you hear the word “education,” do you immediately think of a school setting? While school is hugely important, some of the biggest breakthroughs in education come from what you learn outside of a traditional school setting.

As an adult, finding time to prioritize learning can be challenging. Between building your career, taking care of a household and a family, and making time for self-care, learning something new or keeping up with your
hobbies is often put on the back burner. But the problem with this mindset is that education is self-care and recognizing it as part of a balanced life is vital. These are just some of the ways that you can benefit from informal learning throughout adulthood.

A Brain Boost

When you stop testing your brain, cognitive function starts to decline. This can leave you more susceptible to typical signs of aging such as memory loss. Activities as simple as reading a book or doing puzzles can provide brain- boosting benefits.

Part of a Group

Maybe you played the flute in high school and miss the feeling of creating something beautiful with other musicians. Or perhaps you practiced basketball at a playground or in your driveway but are longing for the camaraderie of team sports. No matter your interests, picking up a new skill (or revisiting a skill you had in childhood but have since neglected) can promote feelings of belonging, which is great for mental health.

Fulfillment = Happiness

Think back to your childhood and how amazing it felt when, after weeks or months of practice, you finally learned how to ride a bike on your own or mastered your times tables. Despite popular belief, you can still achieve that feeling as an adult. Lifelong learning can promote feelings of fulfillment that are often sought after in adulthood. When you feel fulfilled and happy in your life, you’re less likely to experience feelings of depression or anxiety.

To Keep Learning, Do This

You know that continuing your education into adulthood can be beneficial to your health, but you might still be wondering how to actually incorporate it into your everyday life.

One of the best ways to start is by deciding what you’d like to learn about. It can be complicated or simple,
a test of mental fortitude or physical endurance, something personal or inspired by others. Depending on how ambitious you’re feeling, make a list of five to ten things you would like to learn in the order you’d like to learn them. It sounds obvious, but writing them down can help you hold yourself accountable.

Once you’ve established what you want to learn, you can formulate a plan for how to do it. There are endless options for making your goals happen, but how you choose to go about it will depend partially on what you’re learning.


If you want to keep it old school, reading is a fantastic way to pick up new skills or learn about a new subject. There is a how-to book for everything, from baking to carpentry to DIY home design. A quick online search or walk through your local library is guaranteed to help you find a book full of the knowledge you seek.

Digital downloads

While the internet can serve as a distraction, it’s also a place of infinite possibilities. There are so many options for furthering your education digitally. For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, there are a ton of apps and online programs to help you—many of which are free and offer built-in schedules and notifications to remind you when it’s time to practice.

Podcasts are another amazing option when it comes to getting in your daily dose of education. Similar to books or audiobooks, there is a podcast for seemingly every interest, and there are numerous platforms to choose from. If you’re a business owner, there is surely a podcast that offers tips for digital marketing. Or, if you’re a budding artist, listening to the experiences of other artists might help you find your niche. A quick search in the App Store or on your platform of choice can provide a list of some of the most popular downloads.


Although a lot of learning has gone online, there are still many viable options for those who are interested in learning through group activities. Oftentimes community centers or local universities will offer adult learning programs or physical activities to help you hone your skills. These programs provide an outlet for like-minded adults to get together and learn from one another, be it through a pick-up softball game, painting, or woodworking.

If a group isn’t already established for what you want to learn, try creating your own! You can start a Facebook group to help promote it or even post flyers in frequented places in your community to spread the word. If you enjoy meeting new people and have a desire to learn alongside others, this could be a great way to do it.

Now Go Do It!
It’s hard enough for adults to remember to make time for themselves, let alone better themselves through learning. However, you might be surprised by how much better you’ll feel about yourself when you
do. Education isn’t just essential in your youth—it’s something you must constantly work at in every stage of life if you want to be your best self. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a book, sign up for a class, download a podcast—and expand your mind!